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Full text of "Byzantine Churches In Constantinople"

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ix             THE CHURCH OF S. MARY DIACONISSA           187
the colours and veinings of the marble slabs are made to correspond and match. The zigzag Inlaid pattern around the arches also deserves particular attention. High up in the western wall, and reached by the wooden stairs leading to a Turkish wooden gallery on that side of the church, are two marble slabs with a door carved in bas-relief upon them. They may be symbols of Christ as the door of His fold (Plate IV.).
The church has a double narthex. As the ground outside the building has been raised enormously (it rises 15-20 feet above the floor at the east end) the actual entrance to the outer narthex is through a cutting in its vault or through a window, and the floor is reached by a steep flight of stone steps. The narthex is a long narrow vestibule, covered with barrel vaults, and has a Turkish wooden ceiling at the southern end.
The esonarthex is covered with a barrel vault between two cross vaults. The entrance into the church stands between two Corinthian columns, but they belong to different periods, and do not correspond to any structure in the building. In fact, both narthexes have been much altered in their day, presenting many irregularities and containing useless pilasters.
Professor Goodyear refers to this church in support of the theory that in Byzantine buildings there is an intentional widening of the structure from the ground upwards. * It will also be observed,' he says, cthat the cornice is horizontal, whereas the marble casing above and below the cornice is cut and fitted in oblique lines. . . . The outward bend on the right side of the choir is n-| inches in 33 feet. The masonry surfaces step back above the middle string-course. That these bends are not due to thrust is abundantly apparent from the fact that they are continuous and uniform in inclination up to the solid rear wall of the choir/
But in regard to the existence of an intentional widening upwards in this building, it should be observed : First, that as the eastern wall of the church, c the rear wall of the choir,* is Turkish, nothing can be legitimately inferred from the features of that wall about the character of